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AMS Spring 2023

E3D Releases Milling System for Hybrid 3D Printing

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Although the benefits of 3D printing are vast, and can outweigh those of conventional manufacturing technology, industrial users tasked with creating strong yet lightweight parts that are functional and high-performing in critical applications continue to rely on comprehensive solutions. This means there really isn’t time to play technological favorites when it comes to getting the job done, whether that is through additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, or another hybrid system.

With its ToolChanger and Motion System (winner at the 2018 TCT Awards), E3D continues to lead in the development of accompanying hardware such as hot-ends and nozzles, along with encouraging open-source technology enabling users everywhere to make their own customizations. Announcing the release of the ASMBL’ (Subtractive) Tools, the E3D team expects to transform FDM 3D printing by combining CNC machining with the typical 3D printing tool stack:

“Correctly sized and toleranced internal radii, square edges and exquisitely smooth top surfaces are all now possible, straight off the build plate without the need for post-processing. What is more, non-planar milling can be accomplished mid print using the ASMBL tool with some very promising results,” claims E3D in their press release announcing the new tools. “ASMBL is set to change the professional desktop additive manufacturing market forever by setting a new standard unmatched by anything currently in the industry.”

The UK-headquartered company, centered in the Isle of Wight, was founded in 2012 by two full-time teachers working out of an old chicken shed. They’ve upgraded to a more substantial facility these days and now have a larger team continually expanding their offerings, including a variety of critical parts for 3D printers, filaments, and the tool-changing system which is focused on the “multi,” from the use of multiple materials and multiple tools to offering multi-resolution. The ToolChanger and Motion System is also capable of changing tools in the middle of processes.

Other features include:

  • Capability for milled faces – removal of layer lines, and milled rough surfaces allow for a “glass-like” finish on the side and top. The technique also works with thermoplastics like PEEK.
  • Perfectly toleranced holes – allows for installation of bearings, sensors, and more
  • True square corners – usually a challenge in FDM 3D printing, the ASMBL tool allows for sharp corners, also with larger nozzles
  • Non-planar milling – eliminating the staircase effect, time is also saved with less post-processing needed

Correctly toleranced holes

Non-planar milling

Word is that plans may also be in the works for Autodesk to support ASMBL in hopes of further refining their Fusion 360 3D design software. Currently, it is open-source under a LGPL license.

“We hope to have an iterative app available for Fusion 360 to make both setting up and using ASMBL easier for the average user,” said E3D in their press release.

Are you interested in more technical details about the ASMBL Tool and the ToolChanger and Motion System? Check out E3D’s gitlab here.

[Source / Images Courtesy of: E3D]

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